MIAMI GARDENS, FL - MARCH 03: A view of Sun Life Stadium behind a locked gate as the NFL lockout looms on March 3, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
It's official. The players have dissolved the union and the owners are locking out the players. Now the players are suing the owners and the courts could decide the future of the greatest game in the world. So as a protest to the labor dispute I'm not going to write about football today except to comment on one thing. Why does the NFLPA feel it's a good move to encourage players not to attend the draft? These are guys who've dreamed their entire lives of playing football in the NFL, so who's really being hurt by this move? It won't be the owners. The ones it will hurt are the players who will be denied the experience of being in the green room when their names are called so they won't be able to go on stage and hold up the jersey with the required #1 on front, and the fans in attendance and watching on TV who won't get as good of a show. Not the best PR move by the NFLPA who have been trying to make themselves look like the victim in this whole thing.
Thankfully, march madness is about to kick off today with the "First Four" so there are other sports to keep us entertained. If you don't like college basketball just ignore this post and read something else. I do it all the time with NASCAR and Soccor.
Every time the field is announced there's always a few teams who feel they should have been included. The concern that a quality team might be left out was the reason the tournament committee expanded the field this year from 65 to 68. Still, teams and fans are crying foul. Fans of Colorado, Virginia Tech, and Alabama have been filling up the message boards saying they should have made it over UAB or VCU, and in the case of Alabama, Georgia. "I didn't even realize they were on the bubble," Kansas head coach Bill Self said of Colorado. But here's the thing. This isn't college football. Every team that feels they should have been in had their chance. Win your conference tournament and you're in. Colorado went 10-13 against the RPI top 150 but was able to pad their win total by going 10-0 against teams out of the top 150. Did Colorado deserve a bid over VCU? Maybe. But in the immortal words of William Munny, "Deserves got nothing to do with it."
The next biggest argument after who got snubbed is, who was over or under-seeded. Did Villanova deserve a 9 seed after they collapsed down the stretch? No. Is Georgia really worthy of a 10 seed when many feel they barely made it in? Probably not. But for my money, no team got a more generous seed then Florida. The Gators had the most wins in the SEC but they also got blasted by Kentucky in their final game 54-70, and they have three losses to teams out of the RPI top 100. I'm really too lazy to check, but has any team in the history of the NCAA tournament been given a 2 seed with that many bad losses? The four 3 seeds (BYU, Purdue, Syracuse, and UConn) don't even have one loss out of the top 100, and of the four 4 seeds, only Louisville has even one. Even among the 5 seeds their isn't a team with three losses out of the top 100.
This one's hard. Gonzaga, Utah St, UNLV, and Texas probably all deserved to be one or two spots higher, but the most under-seeded team for me is Richmond. They had only one bad loss and finished 3rd in the A-10 with a 13-3 conference record behind Xavier (6 seed) and Temple (7 seed). So how do they then get a 12 seed? If you're looking for the classic 12/5 upset that seems to happen every year, I'd go with Richmond over Vanderbilt.
No doubt it's the Southeast. Pitt is only the 3rd best 1 seed, Florida is more like a 4 seed than a 2, BYU isn't the same without Brandon Davies, and Wisconsin is coming off back-to-back losses, one a 28 point pounding by Ohio St and the other a 33-36 clunker against Penn St. When you also consider Kansas St and UCLA are both probably one line too high, 6 seed St John's is now without D.J. Kennedy thanks to a hand injury, and the bottom half of the bracket is a little better than most, this whole region could get blown apart.
Usually when you look at a region you'll see two or maybe three teams with a good chance to win it. The East has four teams that not only have a good chance to win their region, but they have a good chance of winning this whole thing. Ohio St, North Carolina, Syracuse, and Kentucky looks like a murders row. All are well coached teams with a rich history. Whoever wins this region will have more than earned their spot in the Final Four.
The winner is...
BYU. I can't remember where it is but I know there's a scripture passage somewhere that says, "For God so loved the world that he sent The Jimmer that whosoever should watch him play basketball would not be bored but have ever lasting memories." And if The Jimmer can't do it all on his own, I'll go with Kansas to cut down the nets.